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State diplomacy reaches city children.

Byline: Ashley Bishop

WORCESTER - Ron Bell, the director of the governor's new Public Liaison Office, met with a group of important people at the Worcester Public Library yesterday afternoon.

"Children are our most important resource in this state," said Mr. Bell, addressing a group of 20 children from the YWCA of Central Massachusetts, "and because you are so important, guess what I'm going to do for you? I'm going to read you a book."

Mr. Bell was in the city to read to the children as part of Black History Month, and provided a lively rendition of the popular children's book "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault, to the equally lively audience of 4- and 5-year-olds.

"I wish reading was this fun when I was a child," said Mr. Bell, as the kids excitedly echoed him during his reading. "You are all so smart."

Mr. Bell was hired by Gov. Deval L. Patrick to head the Public Liaison Office, with a goal that Mr. Bell said is to "open the lines of communication between the citizens and Gov. Patrick."

"It's good to be in the library in Worcester," he said. "It's a place where people are civicly engaged."

Mayor Konstantina B. Lukes was also on hand for the event.

"Last November we had our own historic month in the state, when Deval Patrick was elected as the state's first African-American governor," the mayor said during her introduction of Mr. Bell.

The event included a presentation of a $25,000 check from Shaw's Supermarkets and Coca-Cola to four libraries in honor of Black History Month, with $5,000 going to the Worcester Public Library. Other communities to receive library money are Boston, New Bedford and Fall River. Brian Pijanowski, the senior vice president of Shaw's, presented the check to the city.

The library already has an extensive collection of books about black history, and many of them are on display throughout the library as part of Black History Month.

"It's great. The money will be used to buy more books about African-American history," said Penelope Johnson, head librarian. "The nice thing is that people keep publishing new books, and this money will be a great way to expand the library's collection.

"In the afternoons, when families come to the library, it's truly like a mini-United Nations here."

ART: PHOTO

CUTLINE: Ron Bell, director of the governor's new Public Liaison Office, reads to a group of children from the YWCA of Central Massachusetts yesterday at the Worcester Public Library as part of Black History Month.

PHOTOG: T&G Staff/TOM RETTIG
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Feb 28, 2007
Words:434
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